Legless Southern inventor Dr. Arliss Loveless plans to rekindle the Civil War by assassinating President U.S. Grant. Only two men can stop him: gunfighter James West and master-of-disguise and inventor Artemus Gordon. The two must team up to thwart Loveless' plans.
|Title||:||Wild Wild West|
|Release Date||:||June 29, 1999|
|Genres||:||Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction, Western|
|Production Co.||:||Todman, Simon, LeMasters Productions, Warner Bros., Peters Entertainment, Sonnenfeld Josephson Worldwide Entertainment|
|Production Countries||:||United States of America|
|Writers||:||S. S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman|
|Casts||:||Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Salma Hayek, M. Emmet Walsh, Ted Levine, Frederique van der Wal, Musetta Vander, Sofia Eng, Garcelle Beauvais, Bai Ling, Rodney A. Grant, E.J. Callahan, Debra Christofferson, Buck Taylor, James Lashly, Dean Rader Duval, Jerry Wills, Mike H. McGaughy, Christian Aubert, Orestes Matacena, Ian Abercrombie, Ismael 'East' Carlo, Bob Rumnock, Gary Carlos Cervantes, Jerry Potter, Mik Scriba, Michael Sims, Natalie Fabry|
|Plot Keywords||:||steampunk, based on tv series, steam locomotive, drag|
Wild Wild West Reviews
- Just don't take it seriouslyby 12 April 2004on
170 out of 266 people found the following review useful:
Wow, there are a lot of bad votes for this movie here. I thought it was great. It's a Will Smith / Barry Sonnenfeld movie. You can't take it seriously. The humor is perfectly subtle and dry at times, and over the top at others. The storyline is only there to give opportunities for the jokes.
If you want a serious western, try The Magnificent Seven (or the original, 7 Samurai), Hombre, or some other classic. If you want a light-hearted evening, rent this. Probably don't buy it, but rent it.
For some reason it says that my review has to be more than 10 lines, so I'm throwing this in to make it work. Really a review for a movie like this doesn't need to be this long, but I guess I'll just comply.
- Lame bloated blockbusterby 30 April 2000on
100 out of 153 people found the following review useful:
`Wild Wild West' joins an increasingly long list of big bloated blockbusters, movies made for no possible reason beyond grabbing a quick summer buck yet which, ironically, by their very cynical and slapdash nature, utterly fail to connect with even the least demanding of audiences. The result is a multi-multi-million dollar debacle that leaves studios searching for answers and audiences shell-shocked into seeking out their entertainment along the more audacious pathway of off-Hollywood, independent filmmaking the single positive outcome of these dull, empty enterprises.
`Wild Wild West,' like so many films before it, looks to the relics of television's bygone era for inspiration as sad a comment as any on the dismal state of current movie creativity. As one not familiar with the original series, I cannot say what justice, or lack of justice, this homage does to its source. What is evident, judging from the results on screen, is that `Wild Wild West' is, as with most current blockbusters, top-heavy with special effects and as weak in the nether limbs as its legless villain. Straight Westerns being hopelessly out of fashion, especially for a special effects-driven summertime extravaganza, the filmmakers obviously felt that what was needed was a tongue-in-cheek approach to the material, resulting in a bizarre, but completely unfunny amalgam of fantasy and science-fiction gilded onto a Western format. The disparate styles simply fight against each other, leaving no one in the audience - neither Western nor science-fiction fans - satisfied.
The alleged plot involves the attempts by James West (Will Smith) and Artemis Gordon (Kevin Kline) to foil an evil Confederate inventor's plan to kidnap all the world's most brilliant scientists and, ultimately, terrorize the Union and President Grant into submission. This he attempts to do by creating a giant mechanized spider which is, obviously, a last ditch, desperate attempt on the part of the filmmakers to fulfill the seemingly insatiable demands of the modern audience to be dazzled by impressive special effects, no matter how inappropriate they appear in context. Here, though, the miscalculation is fatal because even the audience is wise enough to know when it is being had. Kline and Smith never achieve a palpable rapport despite the usual abundance of lame wise cracks and sarcastic asides designed to make them `hip' and `trendy' two qualities incongruous to the setting, which again shows the lack of real commitment to the spirit of the project. There is exactly one clever moment in the film an astonishingly creative homage to the old RCA logo that hints at what might have been had the moviemakers been willing to really let loose their anarchic imaginations and aimed for something truly sophisticated rather than simply pasting together a series of confused, poorly written blackout sketches.
Incidentally, even some of the expensive special effects come across as surprisingly crude, especially many of the shots utilizing rear-screen projection. Hence, this film strikes out even in the one ballpark in which it might have stood a chance of emerging victorious.
- It just isn't goodby 8 July 1999on
91 out of 160 people found the following review useful:
It's that time of year. The time when Hollywood trots out it's worst of the summer. You know the drill. There's a "Godzilla" every year, somebody has to be it. "Wild Wild West" clenches the title hands down this summer, and we still have eight weeks to go!
The Will Smith phenomenon has now entered it's third phase: overwhelming ego project. Teaming with his "Men In Black" director Barry Sonnenfeld, Smith has finally teetered over the edge and released an outright mess. A film that will hang in the halls of all time bad event flicks. Should we blame Smith? I think so. "Men In Black" and "Independence Day" were gigantic hits, they even call the 4th of July "Big Willie Weekend" due to these successes. I submit that these films were hits due to the films themselves, the writing, acting, directing, and not just because of Smith. "West" is finally the film that rests on Smith's comedic shoulders alone. The truth shines through clearly. Not everything Will Smith does is funny.
Based in the television show running from 1965-1970, the simple plot tells the tale of a Civil War era federal marshal James West (Smith), who must team up with a weapons expert (Kevin Kline, at his most painfully unfunny) to thwart the evil plans of the villain, and legless, Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branagh). Along for the ride is a giant mechanical tarantula, President Grant, and the stunning, gorgeous, lovely, and just plain old hot Salma Hayek. The plot is just a simple excuse to push the characters through endless scenes that give birth to no laughs at all. Scenes that make the audience gringe with fear, as if something wrong is with them. Fear not my good people, these are professionals up on screen, and they blew it.
The screenplay, credited to FOUR writers, has the damnedest time to make any of the jokes funny. You would not believe just how far the cast goes to make this limp material work. It's embarrassing to watch, and even more embarrassing for the actors. There is not one funny moment in the film, not even a courtesy laugh for the attempt. Dead silence. I also disapprove of the attempt to squeeze racial jokes into the mix. Yes, Will Smith is African-American, but do we need to call attention to it every five minutes? The movie would've been better served had it left the race issue alone and just played up the potential fun of the concept.
Will Smith is simply miscast as the hero. He's an amiable actor who's proven himself with stronger material. This film clearly shows just how paper thin the Smith charm can be. While Kevin Kline tries but fails as well, it's really Hayek's role that's a mystery. She's barely in the film, and when her character is explained, you come to realize that she's not apart of the story at all. Hayek has always been a fun performer with winning personality. All this movie asks of her is to be the butt (literally) of a few jokes and keep the cleavage coming. A shameful waste of talent.
Director Sonnenfeld has also been at the helm of better pictures ("Get Shorty"), but for some reason I have yet to see a truly great film directed by him. There always seems to be a spark missing from the action, like a better, funnier film was in there somewhere but he can't find it. Relying in great amounts on special effects and the considerable use of easy-to-spot green screen shots, the typical Sonnenfeld camera work is either buried under all the mayhem or just not inventive when the attempt is actually made. This is a very top-heavy production with little chance to breathe. But Sonnenfeld made this choice, he must be held accountable for it.
The movie has been through many edits, and this shows with wildly out of tune continuity and many unexplained plot twists. Also grating on the brain is Elmer Bernstein's annoying and featherweight musical score. While we have Warner Brothers shamefully trotting out it's "We pray it's as big as the 'Men In Black'" Will Smith rap tune, Bernstein provides a flat score that serves no purpose to enliven the film. The cinematography is also without color, and the catering probably sucked too.
"Wild Wild West" is the product of zero imagination. A lifeless summer film that seems to stick out even more in this unusually good movie season. I am always wary of comic westerns, and this film seals that envelope. If this is what 160 million buys you? I'll take the 3 million "South Park" any day.------------ 0
- Moron Director Alert!!by 29 May 2005on
46 out of 73 people found the following review useful:
Lets take a cult classic and make as stupid idiotic movie as you could possibly make and cast it with actors COMPLETELY unsuited for the parts. Kevin Kline, Will Smith, and Kenneth Branaugh should all shoot their agents. Sure they probably picked up a nice paycheck for this crap but can you ever live down being associated with such a "Wanker" project? For a television series the Wild Wild West was well done for its time and had a lot of interesting plots and characters. What possessed the creators of this movie vomit to trash the Wild Wild West. Hopefully someone will come along and make a serious movie on the television series. Sad to see these SCUM come along and try to make a cheap buck on the creative efforts of others and destroying their original vision. I always wondered how Robert Conrad could go alone with this junk. Then I read that he didn't. He picked up the Razzie Awards as a protest.
- Don't the people making these movies LIKE the original shows?by 13 July 2008on
58 out of 97 people found the following review useful:
I won't add more insults -- others here have done that well enough. This movie is godawful. But I will point out two areas that seem to be staples of bad movie remakes of beloved old TV shows. First, how about getting someone to write/direct that actually liked and understood the original? That person would understand that the West-Gordon relationship was the core. In a sense, West and Gordon complimented each other to make a slick, functional crime-fighting machine: West handled the action and romance, and Gordon took care of the thinking, deception, and humor (disguises). This was a well-used TV convention -- think the Kirk-Spock-McCoy triad in Star Trek, or the great contrasty chemistry between Bill Cosby and Robert Culp in I Spy. Add a lovable villain to the mix (not an offensive atrocity like the film-Loveless) and you've got a crazy, tongue-in-cheek action classic. The filmmakers here seemingly did not know or care about the fundamentals of the original show. Not that this is necessarily a problem, but then why bother resurrecting the premise in the first place? Why not just make Will Smith a different wild west troubleshooter? The Mission Impossible franchise has the same problem.
Second, why all the emphasis on showing the principals getting to know each other? I know -- because it eats up 30% of the script, and creates conflict. But the conflict should be between West and the villain. Jim and Artie should just BE. The TV show didn't bother explaining how West met and knew Gordon, any more than Barney Miller, Mission Impossible, or 24 found it necessary to have all the main characters meet and learn to work together. They were a team with a job to do. Audiences understand this concept; having a trumped-up plot about how the heroes meet and overcome their differences is a hackneyed device that only exposes the script weaknesses present. See the film version of Dragnet (a better film, though) for another example of this unfortunate trend.
Finally, a comment on the "race" issue. Inserting content that justifies Smith-West's skin color is no more necessary than explaining Henry V's skin color when Laurence Fishburne or Andre Braugher play him on stage. Indeed, ignoring Smith's race in a movie like this one would help us all look past such issues. If a blond actor had portrayed West, nobody would have suggested a plot that explains his Norwegian background! He just would have been West, and that would be that. But color-blind casting requires courage, and could conceivably cut into the film's bottom line. So, not in this spineless script.
I seldom get mad at movies I don't like. Even The Avengers didn't anger me, though it was possibly even worse than this one. This one ticked me off REAL good. Buy the original series on DVD instead, and see how it's done right.
- What a sad waste...by 20 February 2002on
20 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
Back in the 60s, The Wild, Wild West, staring Robert Conrad and Russ Martin was one of the best shows of it's time, a interesting mixture of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Gadget Spy films, and light hearted satire. A favorite of mine, I've long enjoyed the show. So naturally, I was looking forward to the big screen adaption, even though it did star Will Smith (Sorry, Will, but you're no Robert Conrad.)
The movie had all the ingredients needed to make a good film: An excellent cast (Kevin Klein, Ken Branaugh, Selma Hayek, even Smith,) an excellent, proven director in Barry Sonnefeld, and a proven genre... Rather, it had all the ingredients that it needed except one... It had the worst script possible.
I've always been wary of any project that was written by committee, and this film is one project that proves why. The excellent cast, crew, and effects of this film were wasted on one of the worst screenplays I've ever seen. The clever (if pulp inspired) stories of the original series are replaced by tepid attempts at comedy which even Smith, who normally is very funny, can't pull off. Kenneth Branaugh succeeds at nothing other than managing to eat the scenery, unable to do anything else, since his lines are so bad. Klein is saddled with the role of Smith's straight man, something that he's just too damn funny to be. As for the effects, like I said, they were spectacular, but the problem is that they seem to be the 'be all and end all' of the movie, instead of working for the story (such as there was in this case.) The simple fact is that they overpower the film.
I guess, if you are a die hard Will Smith fan who has never seen the original series, you might like this one. But for fans of the old series, avoid it, and watch reruns, or else one of the two other shows in the genre, 'Legend' or 'The Adventures of Brisco County Junior.'
- patheticby 29 December 1999on
26 out of 44 people found the following review useful:
after being subjected to about the first 15 minutes of this hot-poker-in-the-eye of a movie, i just wanted to weep. THEY SPENT 170 MILLION DOLLARS ON THIS PIECE OF JUNK?!!!!! of all the quality unfilmed scripts floating around in hollywood, some higher up at warner brothers actually looked at this script and said "Hmmmm, this is fantastic, let's make it." my faith in american studios keeps dwindling quickly................
- Fizzling Saddles ...by 7 June 2005on
64 out of 120 people found the following review useful:
Buried in this god-awful disaster of a movie is a germ of an inkling of an iota of a great idea. It is not the idea of making a big blockbuster out of the great old 1960s TV show "The Wild Wild West," an idea which can, at best, be described as tiresomely uninspired. Nor is there brilliance in transforming the image of the lead character just so that they could build the role around star-of-the-moment Will Smith. But out of that horribly perverse example of Hollywood commercial packaging there is an intriguing premise, which naturally seems to have slipped past all involved without a second glance. What if the best, brightest and most intrepid government agent working in post-Civil War America was, indeed, a black man? Realistically, how would an African-American, functioning in a repressive, racist society, where even the most liberal thinker would see him as a second-class citizen, indeed, a second class human being, be able to not only outsmart the bad guys, but to impress even the skeptical good guys? It is an intriguing idea because, on the one hand, such an agent would not be suspected of being a threat and, on the other hand, he would have to overcome so many more barriers than a white man would ever face. He would be both invisible and yet stand out like the proverbial sore thumb just about anywhere he went. He'd be constantly fighting two battles. Such a film could be thrilling and funny, yet something rare: original.
"The Wild Wild West" TV show itself was all those things: it was highly derivative of both the traditional western and the then-fresh James Bond-style spy movie -- with more than a little bit of Batman-style comic book campiness kicked in -- yet it was ingenious in the way it melded those mythic genres into a one-of-a-kind series. There was never anything quite like "The Wild Wild West" and never anything since -- including this disastrous 1997 movie.
Everything about WILD WILD WEST, the movie, is just plain bad: tacky special effects; clumsy direction; an embarrassing screenplay; plus a fine, bewildered cast wasted in totally unworkable roles. But as bad as everything else is, the base rot of WWW goes directly to its reworked premise. No matter how open minded one might be, or how much one prides oneself on being socially color blind, there is just no way to honestly accept replacing Robert Conrad, TV's James West, with Will Smith. The time and the place dictate that James West be a white male -- unless, the filmmakers acknowledge and embrace the incongruity and use it for a real purpose.
Yet, the filmmakers want it both ways: the audience is expected to be able to ignore Smith's skin color, while at the same time the entire plot is based on his confrontation with a white racist trying to reestablish Confederate power and seize control of the U.S. government. How can you respect or believe in a film or filmmakers that get all preachy about the evils of racism while all along dealing with the issue with absolutely no respect for historical honesty? It is not clear if having Smith play James West as a cocky, street smart, John Shaft-style character was intended to be a joke, social commentary or just absurd politically correct pandering to black audiences, but it is clear that it does not work. The most outrageously unbelievable thing about WILD WILD WEST is not the wildly improbable sci-fi inventions but that the Smith character actually makes it to the end of the film without being lynched. It's not that the anachronism of a cocksure 20th century black man confronting 19th century bigotry isn't workable, because that very time-warp racial comedy had already been done with much greater success in the Mel Brooks classic, BLAZING SADDLES. Unlike WWW, Brooks and company realized the sheer idiocy of the premise, yet used that to mock both the black and the white stereotypes with equal glee.
Where BLAZING SADDLES is an honest farce, WILD WILD WEST is dishonest and cowardly. All involved probably thought they were being pretty daring by flaunting convention and hiring Smith, but they did not hire Will Smith the African American, they hired Will Smith the action hero movie star. They built WILD WILD WEST around Smith's race, but only to exploit his contemporary Hollywood image, even to the point of letting him create and perform a totally inappropriate (and totally bad) rap song at the end. You can sense the film exploiting both Smith's star image and his race, while not wishing to risk challenging either. The film tries to reinvent "The Wild Wild West" TV show, but the changes are literally skin deep. To really explore and compare racism in America by blending the attitudes of two different American centuries would have been too wild wild of an idea for these timid timid filmmakers.
- Hollywood screws up another classic!by 1 May 2009on
15 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Hollywood ruined another great story by casting the horrible one-trick pony known as Will Smith to play James West. Smith is terrible in EVERYTHING he does but in WWW he was unusually terrible. The improbability starts with Smith (Black) in the 1860's as a suave (ugh), Hip (Gag) Secret Service Agent. Now this was so out of place as to be just plain STUPID!! Knenneth Branagh on the other hand was fabulous. Kevin Kline was O.K. and Selma Hayak should've done what she does best- taken off her clothes!! The special effects were kind of cool but the story line sucked and to top it all off the ever-shiteous Fresh Prince had to rap at the closing credits. There will never be a WWW II because it was so lousy. Remember in "Jersey Girl" when Ben Affleck's character torpedoed his career when he said Will Smith sucked and he would never be heard of again? OH how I wish that in this case art imitated life and Will Smith was a bad memory. Oh I forget; Will Smith is a bad memory every year in about 4 lousy, stinking' rotten movies!
- Worst Hollywood blockbuster of all timeby 16 May 2016on
6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
WILD WILD WEST truly is a stinker of a film. Words cannot adequately express just how inane and endlessly trite this stupid, effects-filled movie is; ostensibly it's the big screen adaptation of a '60s cult TV show, but in reality it brings out the very worst of the Hollywood blockbuster sensibility.
The main problem with this film is that it goes for the action comedy template, particularly heavy on the buddy buddy humour. Will Smith was riding high after MEN IN BLACK, but he's really bad here, and I mean really bad. As for Kevin Kline, you can barely believe that this was the same guy from A FISH CALLED WANDA; you actually feel sorry for him. The humour is all of the toilet variety, with a particular focus on oddly misogynistic cross-dressing jokes which quickly become old and rather disgusting. It's one of the unfunniest so-called comedies ever to make it to the screen.
Kenneth Branagh gives the worst performance of his career as the hammy disabled villain, and much of the extensive budget was given over to a huge CGI mechnical spider which hasn't aged very well at all. As for the actresses, including Bai Ling and Salma Hayek, they're literally treated as pieces of meat. Barry Sonnenfeld has directed some junk in his time but even he must be ashamed of this one. It's hard to believe that between them the writers of this thing were responsible for the likes of PREDATOR, TREMORS, and WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT.
Incidentally, WILD WILD WEST holds a special significance for me as the only film I've ever walked out of at the cinema. I believe in staying to watch a film to the end, no matter how bad - after all, you've paid to be there - but this was so appallingly awful that I felt I had no choice but to leave halfway through. Having recently watched the thing again right through to the end, I'm glad I made that choice.
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